While self-driving tech will revolutionize the automotive industry as we know it, it might also change the way we look at motorcycles.
According to BMW Motorrad head of development Karl Viktor Schaller, far fewer bikers will perish on the roads when robots get behind the wheel of our cars.
“It would mean a dramatic enhancement in safety for the motorbike,” said Schaller. “And it would guarantee a wider user group.”
Fully autonomous cars, in theory, will never make mistakes such as failing to see an oncoming bike or misjudging its speed, though this might be only the beginning. Eventually, motorcycles will be able to “talk” with other vehicles on the road, constantly reminding them and their passengers of their position, direction and speed.
“We can use that to build an electronic safety cage around a motorbike,” added Schaller. This in turn could lead to a sales-boost in some markets once every aspiring biker realizes he’s no longer in danger from inattentive drivers.
As for self-driving bikes, well they may be a lot farther off. In fact, according to Yamaha, bikes that can move around autonomously will lag self-driving cars by at least a decade.
Still, some autonomous features could be present on bikes a lot sooner than that, as reported by Autonews. BMW for one envisions a suite of systems that “map the road ahead and alert the rider to curves and conditions.” For example, if the bike calculates that it’s moving too fast for upcoming terrain, it can warn the rider to slow down.
Would you feel safer riding a motorcycle knowing that you’d no longer need to worry about drivers being aware of your position?